Toronto Maple Leafs winger, Wayne Simmonds, and former Toronto Maple Leafs centre, Nazem Kadri, appeared in a new anti-racism video posted online by the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA) on Saturday titled #TapeOutHate. A shorter censored version of the video also played during Hockey Night in Canada.
Appearing in the video with the Toronto Maple Leafs Simmonds and ex-Leaf Nazem Kadri are several current and former hockey players including Matt Dumba from the Minnesota Wild, Anthony Duclair from the Florida Panthers, Sarah Nurse from the Canadian national team, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Angela James, and HDA co-founder and former NHLer, Akim Aliu.
The video shows the struggles faced by hockey players of colour on the ice, in the dressing room and online including racist social media comments directed at players, the racist remarks Aliu received from his former coach, Bill Peters, and the banana thrown at Wayne Simmonds from the stands during an NHL preseason game.
The video ends by showing new hockey tape currently available with the slogan “#TapeOutHate Racism Has No Place in Hockey.”
Toronto Maple Leafs and Wayne Simmonds
No matter where you live or where you’re from, I’m sure there are things about your hometown that fill you with great pride, but there are probably also things that fill you with great shame. I live in London, Ontario.
One thing that makes me a proud Londoner is that it’s the birth place and hometown of former Toronto Maple Leafs centre and current member of the Colorado Avalanche, Nazem Kadri.
London has a strong Muslim community and to have a role model like Kadri growing up in London, playing for the hometown London Knights, representing Canada at the World Juniors and then being drafted in the first round to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs just a couple hours away – it does amazing things for the community.
An incident that made me feel shame as a Londoner was when a spectator threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds during the shootout of a preseason game between Simmonds’ Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings at the John Labatt Centre (now Budweiser Gardens) in London, Ontario.
I’m sharing these moments of pride and shame to show that racism is everywhere. You can feel pride and shame for the same place at the same time. No matter how much you love your city, your country, your sport… there is racism there and it’s disgusting, hurtful and embarrassing. It has to stop.
I understand that as a white man, I can never truly understand the struggles people of colour suffer through, but I’m very proud of the players involved in this video for not only overcoming the challenges involved in becoming a professional athlete but for breaking racial barriers as well. Please do what you can to make hockey an inviting sport for everyone.
You can watch the HDA’s #TapeOutHate video here.